Monday, September 24, 2007


Today I got to spend my day as part of the Jury Pool for the Hampton County Court system over in Springfield MA. It was a privilege! We don't often get the opportunity to participate as part of the independent judicial system but once every three years they give me a call and over I go with my heart in my hand, welcoming the chance to participate.

I filled out the questionnaire that they sent me in the mail and the only part I didn't like was the questions about my involvement with the criminal justice system. I have to tell them about my employment as a police officer and as a criminal investigator for the Attorney Generals Office, but it all but guarantees that I will be dropped during the jury selection process. I really want to serve on a jury. I read the Juror's handbook they sent and all but committed it to memory but it didn't help. When the circuit court Judge came in, to give us our charge, and the bailiff commanded "All Stand" I was the first up on my feet, but that didn't count either. The Judge thanked us for our service and said "For you that don't get called today, thank you for participating because if you were not here we wouldn't be having court today!" It is OK if I don't get called today as I just want to be here, doing my duty.

There were about 175 of us in total and apparently we all lacked a little bit of common sense. At noon we were given and hour off for lunch an we all headed for the elevators to go down from the forth floor. We all waited for the doors to open, and we waited and waited but the doors didn't open. About 30 people headed for the stairs and walked down but the rest of us waited for the elevators envisioning that we would probably beat them down. We waited and waited and finally a young guy in front of me walked over and pushed the down button and two of three doors opened in about 10 seconds. Wow, we all applauded him. My only complaint was that they allowed cell phones in the jury pool room and the coffee machine was broke. Our bathroom was very clean but one of the faucets didn't work and would not shut off. Every time I went in it was running, and I went in a lot because of the water pill I take. In the afternoon I went in again and it was running and I decided to fix it. When I turned the faucet the proper direction the water shut off. Wow, as this was kinda like the elevator incident.

Anyway it was a good day and I got a lot of reading done. About 2/3 of the crew got called but not me. Maybe next time, in three years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


This morning was a real benchmark for me. It was one of those mornings that shape the rest of your life. There are things that occur only once every 64 years and they should be recorded as I am doing now in this blog. This morning I wore my pajamas outside, to walk the dog and not just any pajamas. These were shortie pajamas. I held myself up for public scrutiny and ridicule as I strolled the sidewalk in front of my house with the dog as I kept telling her to "Please go poop" so we can go back inside. This wasn't just a spur of the moment decision but was very practiced and calculated plan on my part. I awoke at 6 am and said to myself "Today is the day!" and I did it, in front of God and everybody.

This all started about sixty years ago when my Mother first made me start wearing pajamas, although I can't remember what they looked like but they probably had cowboys and Indians on them. I wore tops and bottoms for the next 10 years when I noticed that my brother Bill was no longer wearing his tops, just his bottoms. Seems like it was a college thing and would probably lead to no good but I got rid of my tops. What if his dorm room caught on fire and he was forced to run outside in just his bottoms. I figured that everyone would point at him and laugh. My Dad always wore tops and bottoms but he always wore some type of bathrobe over them as I never just saw him in pajamas. He always had slippers on and I could only see the bottom 16" of his pajamas. My Dad was a smoker and he was lying down on the bed some Sunday morning reading the paper and smoking. The ashtray was on the seat for my mothers dresser and my Dad fell asleep. The cigarette fell out of the ashtray, on to the cloth seat and set it on fire. My Mom called the fire department and they sent a couple of pumpers to the house in short order. Meanwhile, my Father woke up and grabbed the seat and took it outside as it was merely smoldering. He knew what to do because, like the men that showed up with the pumpers, he also was a volunteer fireman. The firemen let me take sand out of my sandbox and put it on the seat to put out the fire. I was thrilled and my Mother was mortified to see what was happening to her beautiful chair. How would she be able to put her makeup on next time? All though the scene was very hectic and chaotic, I was very worried for my father as he was being forced to stand outside, in front of all those people, in his pajamas. What was to become of him? I took some solace in the fact that he had his bathrobe on and people would only be able to see the bottom 16" of his legs.

The Navy would not let me bring my pajamas to boot camp and worse of all they expected me to sleep in my skives. Can you just imagine the shock to this poor country boy from South Dakota when they made me ship my pajamas back home? Sleeping is skives stuck and from then on I rejected the idea of wearing pajamas. In case of a night time fire, I always had my pants, fully loaded with keys, billfold etc., on standby and within arms reach so I wouldn't be required to stand for public scrutiny outside in my skives. Through the years my wife would buy me lots of nice pajamas. Some for winter and short ones for summer and try and get me to wear them. I wouldn't even think about it until about 6 months ago and I started wearing a pair of short, summer ones. They were actually very comfortable and it was all OK as long as my fully loaded pants were within arms reach. The neat thing about them was that they had pockets and I could walk around with my cell phone or keys in the pockets. They don't have rear pockets so I can't carry my wallet which really worries me. What if I need to be identified or prove who I am if I get caught outside in my Pajamas. If I was a cop at a fire or something and some old guy was walking around in pajamas, without a shirt, I would want to know who he was. See, a valid reason for carrying an ID at all times, not paranoia as some of you may be thinking.

I have friends who wear their pajamas outside all the time. Some even go jogging in their pajamas with their wives who are also in pajamas. A little weird if you ask me. I decided that if they could do that then I could try to wear mine outside also. A couple of days last week I got so far as to go out in my pajamas but with my pants over the top. Not bad. A little real progress here. Today I said "Hang it" and out the door the dog and I went. She piddled and we went back inside then I went back out to retrieve the paper which was next to the road. Five or 6 cars went by and I waved to each and I even survived two, female, college track runners going by and saying "morning". It wasn't so bad and no one really made fun of me. I lived and headed back inside to wake my wife so I could tell her about my latest daring do. As I went upstairs to awake her it I noticed that my fly was not buttoned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boot Camp San Diego

Now that I have discovered how to create jpeg's from my old slide collection I have decided to print some of them here. I'm going to take some of the slides from each event and tell a bit of a story about the event thereby forcing you to view my slide collection. It is kind of sad, as I go through the slide collection which represents thousands of slides from all over the world, that I am selecting a few and the rest will be destroyed. We have decided that it is time to start simplifying our lives and photographs are one of the items that need to be simplified. Dale's parents and my parents are long gone and we are left with the photo collections and no one really cares about the photo's anymore. As we sort we will create photo albums for out daughter and grandson and those that we can identify subjects, will be forwarded on to those people. My first project is of Boot camp, San Diego circa 1962. As I go through the slide I notice that most of them are of views around the area showing buildings such as my barracks,
battalion headquarters and a lot of people I can only vaguely identify or remember. I saved 4 photos out of 95 and these 4 will be saved as jpegs.

Chapter one, as I said previously, is boot camp at San Diego, California. The first photo is a pride photo of out company flags. We were good and we got lots of awards. The sailor on the left is my friend Dennis Dalby and I joined the Navy with him. I remember that they took everything from us and we led a very restricted life. Very few Playboy magazines around. We had some free time to ourselves and we spent that telling stories, smoking, playing poker with smuggled cards, some even wrote letters home. The Cuban missile Crisis was at its height and Viet Nam was cranking along. Marilyn Monroe died as did Elanor Roosevelt and John Glen orbited the earth 3 times.

In the Navy we did things a little bit different than the rest and we found out how to wash clothes the Navy way. Photo two shows the scrub tables we used along with a bucket, scrub brush, soap and a lot of elbow grease. Hope this photo brings back a lot of good memories to you San Diego boot campers out there. Wonder if they still do it that way.

The third photo shows all of those, just washed whites, dungarees, skives, skive-shirts and white hats hanging on the clothes lines with the aid of tie-ties. A member of our company stood guard, on the clothes line all night. All of this scrubbing, washing and guarding would culminate in a white hat and skive shirt inspection the following morning. We would take our thumb an place it under the deck band of our skive shirts so that the inside of the band was displayed. We held our white hats so that the inside and the sweat band was exposed to the inspector. All of this showed how well we were washing our bodies as well as our clothes. Before that I always thought that smell was the test you employed but now I look for rings on their T-shirts of people I meet.

The final photo is of one of the guys polishing his "boon dockers" for inspection. They were our everyday shoes, were ankle high. and had soft toes so they took a lousy polishing no matter what you did. They were comfortable though. I think I could use a pair of those now. Nowhere else in the service did we wear them.

Just so you know we did get a little Liberty now and then, the last photo is from the old Hollywood Theater where we attended one of the last Burlesque shows. This photo is G rated but the x rated I shot with a telephoto lens and there was to much movement. Darn!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Worth a second look

My wife and I are cleaning out our basement and some of the items we "find" are hauled upstairs to the porch for temporary storage. Today is a foul weather day and as I passed through the porch today I had to do a double-take trying to figure out what was in the chair. Once I figured it out I hollard for my wife to take a look and grabbed my camera. This is what I found. Not a real happy camper at being discovered. Certainly worth a second look.

Heart Depression

I have never been a person that was willing to put anything drug like in my body except liquor. Beings I was an old submarine sailor I did plenty of that but never any kind of drug. I had some kind of a painkiller once for a very bad root canal but that was it. "If you couldn't cure it or kill it with alcohol it wasn't worth having" anyway that was the saying on my first boat the USS Picuda (ss382) down in Key West in the early 60's. I was probably well on my way to being a full fledged alcoholic by the time my boat, the USS Snook (ssn592) went into drydock in Bremerton, WA. I got married to Dale Mae, my first and only wife, at this time. She managed to chase away the beer and forbade me from drinking Vodka [as in Martini] and somehow it worked. I basically sobered up for the rest of my life and even now I limit myself to 1 or 2 beers a week. Pretty good for any ex-subsailor. Well my problems with drugs started when I got old and had some heart problems. Hypertension it was, and finally turned into chest pains,etc. which culminated in an angioplasty to see what was wrong in there. The bad news was they found a pretty serious blockage but the good news was my heart/body created its own bypass called Angiogenesis , around the blockage, by growing a new one. It wasn't as good as the one God gave me with my original body but it would have to do. I have a bad family history of heart attack deaths in my family, on both sides, and I was scared to death about it all. My Cardiologist went after my high blood pressure with lots of drugs. First he took my regular blood pressure drug [Diovan] and doubled it, then he added a beta blocker, then an alpha blocker, topping it off with a gamma blocker, for nuclear attacks I believe. The last one is pure fabrication. All of these pills managed to knock my BP down to acceptable, but not great ranges [130/110]. Then he added a couple of water pills because he thought my legs were swelling up. I also had a prostrate problem and was taking Detrol LA, thank God for that because it seemed to keep the water pills in check. I really wasn't feeling very good. OK, but not at the top of my game. I became lethargic and I think depressed. I wasn't the happy, go-lucky lad I always was. About this time I stopped posting to this blog and wasn't interested in anyone's blog. I didn't smile very much, yelled at our help all the time and picked fights with everyone. I didn't like myself very well.

I decided I would rather risk a heart attack and be happy instead of like this so I started giving up the pills, one at a time. I took my blood pressure a couple of time a day to track what was happening. I gave everything up except the water pill, the Detrol LA and my origional BP medicine. You know what? My BP dropped to 110 over 80. Perfect. I started feeling better, my interests changed, I became happier and I got my desire back to post again to this blog. The down side to all of this was when I stopped with all of my pills, my hair stopped growing again. I was happier without hair anyway. I just had a yearly physical from my regular Dr. and he declared me fit in every way. Ain't life grand!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Summers End

Fall is on the way as the tell-tale signs of mother nature forecast. Our grass in the cemetery is just starting to turn brown and a few very early trees are showing some color. I take the dog out at 5:30 in the morning and most morning in the past two weeks have required a sweat shirt. The changes are very small and you have to really pay close attention because yesterday it was 91 here. Not very fall like. Two days ago, as I was opening up, I was startled by a red-tailed hawk looking at me from the top of a very short stone. We were almost eyeball to eyeball about 15 feet apart and stared at each other for a few seconds. He must of not thought of me as a threat as his gaze changed to a black squirrel looking at him from the side of a large maple tree. The squirrel figured one of us was a threat and he rapidly ascended the tree and the hawk was on his way except he just went to the same maple tree and chased the squirrel around the tree. He would hop and fly up to the next branch trying to grab the squirrel but without success. Soon the hawk was frustrated and flew to another tree about 200 yards away and I could see him at the top of a tall spruce calmly scanning the terrain below. That was more like it because I had never seen a hawk display the branch jumping technique before. Then I remembered that next week will be the height of the hawk and eagle migration south so this one was probably just trying to fatten up before the long trek. Did you know that they ride the currents, circling upward on updrafts and then gliding until they lose height and find another updraft all the way to Buloxie or wherever they go for the winter. I've noticed that the sparrows have cleared out of my housing development I keep for them so it is time to clean out the rooms again. I don't know where they went either as there are thousands of sparrows around but none in the birdhouses. The last time I looked they were still having babies. Our squirrels have gotten really active as this is the time of the year that the acorns are ripe and fall from the trees. The squirrels are starting to fatten up. A lot of birds are missing already. We have no more robins, no cardinals and the only crows that are left are probably the ravens. The pink and purple blooms of Hosta have gone by and the white blooms of our Hydrangea bushes are all turning pink. Family members have begun pulling up their summer flowers and replacing them with Mums.

As Our grass drys we have less mowing to do and it allows time for some of our other projects like cutting up firewood for the winter, catching up on painting projects, and do some major work on our Chapel and the scattering gardens. Soon the leaves will fall and that will again receive all of our attention until the snow comes but perhaps I am moving too fast and should just enjoy the end of summer.

Monday, September 03, 2007


This is my last pet story for a while. I have to get by the damn pets and get on with my life. The picture you are seeing here is what my computer screen looks like when I go to check my mail in the morning. Kinda scary and eye opening isn't it? Well that is Magee from a picture that Georgette sent me a while back and I keep it on my computer so that I start my day off right. We dog sat for Georgette when she went on vacation a while ago and Magee really was a trip. With our dogs and Magee and Bridget and Purrsey the cat, our house was a real zoo but a laugh a minute. We really liked Magee and grew very fond of her. We eagerly await a return visit.

This second photo is our Bridgette and Magee getting to know each other, I think?

The third photo is the real Magee smiling for the camera. You can see why I like her so much!